2018 Fantasy Baseball: Top Ten Second Basemen 5 and 6 Categories
We’ve been running through the players in alphabetical order now for about the last year. We do this for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that while the past five seasons might give a player a certain ranking, and the rankings may vary based on five or six categories, where the player actually ranks is far different. We will move to that system here for the five and six categories. What follows is the best guess based on adjustments that seem logical.
The five category leagues are still the backbone of the sport, but more leagues are including an on base element. That usually ends up being on base percentage itself or walks. Since we have batting average already we will include walks as the sixth category. So, the rankings you see will combine their rankings in both the five and six categories as well expectations for future performance.
Jose Altuve—Houston Astros
5 Category: 1
6 Category: 1
Projections are always difficult, but the concept is pretty simple. Will Jose Altuve do better than the five-year average or worse? It seems impossible to ponder, but he has seemingly gotten better each year since 2014. In that span he has had 200 or more hits every season, seen his power increase, and his patience increase. The five-year average might be the floor of what we can expect from him.
Daniel Murphy—Washington Nationals
5 Category: 2
6 Category: 5
Every year there is a guy that busts out in the postseason. Daniel Murphy was the guy from 2015. He hit seven home runs in the 2015 postseason and the Nationals signed him on the heels of that performance. What came next is the unbelievable part. He continued to hit. That almost never happens. Like Altuve, recent results would seem to indicate that the five-year average is a little conservative.
Brian Dozier—Minnesota Twins
5 Category: 4
6 Category: 2
Like the others above him, this is about where he is going and not necessarily where he has been. His power and patience are on the rise and he has hit for higher average the last two seasons. Batting average is a red herring anyway. It will cause some to pick Robinson Cano before him. Notice that Dozier is a little better in every other category (save RBI). Sometimes we can become a slave to individual categories to our own detriment.
Robinson Cano—Seattle Mariners
5 Category: 3
6 Category: 2
On the flip side you have guys like Cano. Cano will always be good, but his days as a dominant performer are likely over. The five-year average would appear to be optimistic, but he narrowly edges out Brian Dozier in the rankings. Still, these rankings have to be about what is coming and not what has already been.
Ian Kinsler—Detroit Tigers
5 Category: 4
6 Category: 4
Kinsler’s stock could rise if the Tigers move him. Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera are unmovable, so Kinsler stands as the Tigers’ last bargaining chip. Teams have learned that if you aren’t going to be competitive you might as well barter off all of your veteran talent to cut costs and build up your farm system. The Tigers are the latest ones to do it as they traded Justin Verlander, Justin Wilson, J.D. Martinez, and Alex Avila last season. Look for them to move Kinsler during the Winter Meetings.
Jason Kipnis—Cleveland Indians
5 Category: 8
6 Category: 7
Sometimes other considerations matter. Kipnis is outfield (center field) eligible after playing there last season. Multi-positional flexibility provides for an interest tie breaker when compared with similar players like Rougned Odor. We are also guessing that he is due a bounce back campaign following an uncharacteristically down season.
Ian Happ—Chicago Cubs
5 Category: 10
6 Category: 11
Happ put these numbers up in 115 games. Imagine what he could do in 150 games. Like Kipnis, he also has outfield eligibility, so that also gives him a leg up over Odor. The power is probably not going to be there at this level, but with another month’s worth of plate appearances he might end up producing at the same level overall. We can also expect him to hit for higher average and walk more often next season.
Rougned Odor—Texas Rangers
5 Category: 8
6 Category: 14
I might even be tempted to drop Odor lower If you asked me again, but it is impossible to ignore the awesome power he brings to the table. He also brings decent speed. Unfortunately, you have to be able to steal first base. Odor is just too much of a free swinger to do that consistently. Even in five category leagues that limits his value.
D.J. LeMahieu—Colorado Rockies
5 Category: 10
6 Category: 8
On the one hand, if you simply look at the last three seasons you would be tempted to rank him higher. He has an elite batting average in today’s game (.320 since 2015) but every other category is either mediocre or merely good. So, he could elevate a spot or two in six category leagues where the average mixes with the walks to give you an elite on base percentage. The lack of power and lukewarm speed are still an issue.
Whit Merrifield—Kansas City Royals
5 Category: 13
6 Category: 16
Merrifield should rank higher based on his first full season, but he has two strikes against him. First, he has only one full season. So, it’s hard to get too excited over a guy that might be a flash in the pan. Secondly, Kansas City might end up being a ghost town before this offseason is over. Neither of these are his fault necessarily, so we slipped him into the top ten based on the potential for another strong campaign.